This is the final report of a project that started with the release of the discussion paper Weaving Resilience into our Working Lands: Future Roles for Native Plants on Private Land in June 2001. The final report addresses; the attitudes and mindsets surrounding native plants on private land; how to manage native plants sustainably; creating wealth with native plants; research and knowledge; and the effect of legislation and institutions.
What is this report all about? At its simplest it is about a deep clash of values (or mindsets) over what we should do with the native plants growing, or planted, on privately owned lands. Should these plants all be protected for their conservation values, or should some be developed in ways that will also contribute directly to wealth creation?
This clash is born out of widespread recognition that New Zealand has lost most of its former indigenous forest cover, particularly on lowland areas. This loss has led, rightly, to a major focus on protecting what is left - largely by purchase but also by covenanting. All this is well known, and the role of protection and preservation has been widely debated during the development of the New Zealand Biodiversity Strategy. The conservation ethic is well developed in New Zealand. So, what else should we be thinking about regarding the future of our native plants?
I have made recommendations to the Minister for the Environment and Ministers of Forestry, Research Science and Technology, Finance and Revenue. These recommendations include a recommendation for increased on research on native plants and their attributes. The recommendations aim to assist in the development of a more favourable policy, market and social "environment" that will allow for a wider range of uses for native plants.